Byron is an in-demand session/touring bassist whose main band since 2004 has been NYC’s Ollabelle. We talk about “Losing You” and “Gypsy Wind” from his debut solo album, Disappearing Man (2018), plus “Gone Today” by Ollabelle from Riverside Battle Songs (2007), and finish with”Horizontal Man” by Lost Leaders from their 2014 eponymous album. Intro: “Heaven’s Pearls” by Levon Helm from Electric Dirt (2009). For more, visit byronisaacs.com.
Lindsay has released four albums and an EP of depressed alternative rock under the band name Gretchen’s Wheel since 2015, providing a modern model of accessible yet professional DIY recording.
We focus on Black Box Theory, covering “Untethered,” “Tatyana,” and “Plans,” plus “Save the Day” from Sad Scientist (2017). Intro: “Total Loss” from Fragile State (2015). For more, visit gretchenswheel.com.
Nashville singer/songwriter/fiction-writer Rod laid sheet rock for years before releasing his first album in 2001; he has now released ten albums of vivid Americana.
We focus on his new double album Out Past the Wires, discussing “Take Home Pay” and “Date of Grace” (with intro/outro from “Be My Bonnie”), then look back to “Rust Belt Fields” from Welding Burns (2011) and finally listen to “You’re Not Missing Anything” from Hang Your Hopes on a Crooked Nail (2014). More at rodpicott.com.
Prateek was named artist of the year for 2016 by MTV India, and has been releasing tasteful, lyrics-focused songs about relationships in English and Hindi since 2011.
We focus on his 2015 album Tokens and Charms: “Go,” “Oh Love,” and “Flames,” plus the 2017 single “Tum Jab Pas,” and the title track from his brand new EP cold/mess. Intro/outro: “Raat Raazi” (2013). For more, visit prateekkuhad.com.
Tara has long been building her heavy metal guitar skills, but has only recently gone public, building a huge social media following and now releasing Evil Enough, an album featuring musicians who’ve played with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc.
We discuss “Antidote” and “Banished from My Kingdom,” and close with “Unbreakable.” Opening music: “Gui-Tara Rises.” Hear more at taralynch.com.
Shawn started as a ’60s folk singer, went to England to cavort with the greats of classic rock, and emerged in the ’70s with ten albums of eclectic, progressive music with shamanic lyrics delivered with a twang.
We discuss “Woman” from Second Contribution (1971), “A Christmas Song” from Faces (1972) and “Mr. President” from Furthermore (1974), then play two songs from his new album, Continuance: “C’mon Round” and “Bach to the Fusion.” Opening music: “I’m a Loner (I’m a Drifter)” from I’m a Loner (1964). For more, see shawnphillips.com.
Phil was a core member of Roxy Music through the ’70s and early ’80s, has released 10+ solo albums since 1975 and many collaborations—appearing on around 80 albums in total—with an experimental yet tasteful guitar that’s sometimes mistaken for a keyboard or something else.
We discuss “No Church in the Wild” from The Sound of Blue (2015), which is a cover of the song by Jay Z and Kanye West based around a sample from Phil’s song “K-Scope” from the album of that name (1970). We then talk about “Wish You Well” from 6:00pm (2004) and the title track from Diamond Head (1975). Finally we listen to “Magdalena” from Live in Japan (2017). Intro music: “Over You” by Roxy Music from Flesh & Blood (1980).
For more, visit manzanera.com.
Nick has released 22 albums as The Bevis Frond since 1986, alternating jangle-pop with psychedelia and power-guitar rock… pretty much anything ’60s-flavored.
We discuss “Longships” from Example 22 (2015), “Opthalmic Microdots” from White Numbers (2013), and “Coming Round” from London Stone (1992). We conclude by listening to “Portobello Man” from Valedictory Songs (2000). Intro: “He’d Be a Diamond” from New River Head (1991). Hear more at bevisfrond.bandcamp.com.
As bassist/co-frontman for XTC, he released around 14 albums between 1978–2000, and for the first time since, he has a new release, the Great Aspirations EP now under the name TC&I.
We discuss “Scatter Me” and “Kenny” from this 2017 release, plus “Say It” an 2002 XTC song, and conclude by listening to “Where Did the Ordinary People Go?” the final 2005 XTC single. Intro music: “Making Plans for Nigel” from Drums and Wires (1979). For more, see facebook.com/tcandimusic.
David J. Haskins gained fame with Bauhaus in the late ’70s/early ’80s, gained more fame with Love and Rockets, and has since 1983 released around ten albums plus several EPs and other collaborations.
We discuss “The Auteur (Redux / Reprise)” a 2018 single (featuring Rose McGowan and Emily Jane White), “Vaudeville Ghost Light” from Carpe Noctem (2016), credited to M.C. Nightshade and the Theatre Bizarre Orchestra, and “Eulogy for Jeff Buckley” from Not Long for This World (2011). End song: “The Day the David Bowie Died” from Vagabond Songs (2017). Opening song: “No New Tale to Tell” by Love and Rockets from Earth, Sun, Moon (1987). For more, see davidjonline.com.
Sarah has recorded five solo albums since 1997, starting with traditional folk songs, sometimes guitar instrumentals, and now focusing on originals that mix British and American folk in a style influenced by Joni Mitchell, among others. She has lately pared back her songwriting to ensure that every note counts.
We discuss the title track and “The Silence above Us” from If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous (2018) and “Hardwick’s Lofty Towers” from The Plum Tree and the Rose (2012). Closing song: “Yellowstone” from Walking into White (2015). Opening instrumental: “The Day of Wrath, That Day,” also from the new album. For more, see sarahmcquaid.com.
Aaron was born into show business, staring young in L.A. in the early ’00s with All Hours, then went solo, moved to New York, became an actor, and has now released his first album in seven years, Wry Observer.
We discuss the title track from that album plus “Brooklyn at Dawn” (the intro music is from that too: “The Last to Die in Battle”). Then we look back to “Box Office Stud” by All Hours (2004) and finish by listening to “Bright Lights” from the album Aaron David Gleason (2010). Learn more at aarondavidgleason.com.
Amy has recorded nine albums of emotionally stark but often artistically decorated original folk music, punctuated by cover tunes like the opening music here, Townes Van Zandt’s “Buckskin Stallion Blues,” which appeared in the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
We discuss “Mouth to Mouth” from The Autopilot Knows You Best (2000), “The Nightjar’s Blues” from The Cimarron Banks (2010), and “Natural Arc” from Songs for Creeps (2006), which also contains our closer, “I’m A-Gone Down to the Greenfields.” Visit amyannelle.bandcamp.com.
On NEM#15, Craig introduced us to his songwriting style: How a hardcore aesthetic informs even his most syntho creations, and how whimsicality and beauty can coexist harmoniously. Craig has since then released the Adult Desire album, and returns to talk to us about the song “Safe Home/Fadeland” and about the Adult Desire 360 VR application. Intro: “Amnesian Wedding March.” Outro: “I Was a Soldier.” Visit craigwedren.com.
Billy now does press for many of his idols, but began as a drummer in music school and started Ant-Bee in the late ’80s, as a Zappa-esque improv live act and as a Beach Boys–psychedelic solo recording effort. He’s released four albums, increasingly featuring his clients.
We discuss two tracks from Electronic Church Muzik (2011): “Flutter-Bye, Butter-Flye” (feat. Michael Bruce) and “The Language of the Body” (feat. poetry by Gong’s Daevid Allen and layering on parts by Zappa alums). We then look back to two tracks from With My Favorite “Vegetables” & Other Bizarre Muzik (1994): “The Girl with the Stars in Her Hair” and a Beach Boys cover, “Do You Like Worms?” Opening/closing music: “Eating Chocolate Cake (In the Bath)” from Pure Electric Honey (1990). For more info, see ant-bee.com and glassonyonpr.com.
RHEMA as a six-piece band produced an album called Voyage of the Rock Aliens that accompanied their appearance in the film of that name. The band then broke up, but songwriters Marc and Jeffrey continued to work together on various projects, and have finally now produced a proper album as RHEMA called Shine, drawing on their ’80s roots but incorporating modern electronic music textures.
We discuss “Rebel Flame” and “The World Is So Small” and listen to “Life in Front of You” from that new album, and discuss one old song, “Combine Man,” specifically a 2009 Marc Jackson remix. Intro: “21st Century.” For more information, see rhemaband.com.
Arrica has released five albums and three EPs of floaty, poetic, California rock since 2006.
We discuss “Whole Lotta Lows” and “X-Ray Eyes” from Low as the Moon (2017) and “When the Clouds Hang This Low” from Let Alone Sea (2011). We conclude by listening to “On and On” by Dear County from Low Country (2016). Intro music: “Sail Away” from Antebellum (2010). For more, visit arricarose.com.
Jherek started off as bassist in the late ’90s for the Seattle art rock bands The Dead Science and Parenthetical Girls, and has released about five solo albums (and other things) since 2006, the last two being full-on orchestral works.
We discuss the title track from Cistern (2016), “The Nest” featuring Mirah from Composed (2012), and “Blackstar,” featuring Anna Calvi, from a David Bowie tribute with Amanda Palmer called Strung Out in Heaven (2016). We conclude by listening to “Eyes” feat. David Byrne, also from Composed. Opening/closing music: “Automatism” from Cistern. For more info, see jherekbischoff.com.
Mike fronts a hard-working Madison power trio in the glam rock vein that’s put out 7 albums and 7 EPs since 2000. He also runs (and records a new song every week for) a podcast about the occult.
We discuss “Sulfur” from The Wilderness of Almost Was and Never Were (2017), “Saturday Night Gospel” from Dangerous Times (2014), and “Prozac Girl” from Loser of the Year (2003). We conclude by listening to “We Are the Darkness” from The Slingshot Effect (2011). Opening music: “Stardust (Acoustic)” from Arthuriana (2013).
To celebrate year #2, previous guests return: Bradley (see #32) talks “Duet” from Take Out the Poison, Jeff (see #5) presents “Still Life with Broken Heart” from Emotional Terrorism, and Steve (see #6) discusses “Wind of Change” from A Tribute to the Bee Gees ’66 to ’78. Finally, hear Tyler Hislop (see #24) about his “Wounds and Nihilism (Feat. Mark Lint).” Opening music: “Dawning on Me” by Mark Lint.
Anthony was the original guitarist and a key songwriter in Genesis from ’67–’70, released some prog rock albums in the ’70s, then shifted largely to a mix of acoustic guitar pieces and synth soundscapes, often for soundtracks.
We discuss “Nocturne” from Seventh Heaven (2012, with Andrew Skeet), “From the Jaws of Death – Touching the Face of God” from Wildlife (recorded 1999) and “Magdalen” from Sides (1979). We then listen to “Sanctuary” from Private Parts & Pieces VIII: New England (1992). Opening music: “F# Demo (The Musical Box, Instrumental)” from 1970. End music: “Mystery Train III” from Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams (2012). For more information, see anthonyphillips.co.uk.
Richard garnered early fame as drummer for ’60s New Jersey garage band The Doughboys and has put out 11 albums, largely as a one-man band, since 1988.
We discuss the title tracks from Incognito (2017) and Cornerstone (1998) and “Agnostic’s Prayer” from Tiers and Other Stories (2011). End song: “And Then” from Incognito. Intro: “Falling Away” from Hey Man! (1990).
Learn more at richardxheyman.com.
Alejandro started as a punk guitarist for the The Nuns, moved to Austin in the ’80s and became a songwriter with True Believers. He has since put out 14+ solo albums of story-driven, lyrically intense, stylistically varied Texas rock.
We’ll be discussing “Beauty and the Buzz” from Burn Something Beautiful (2016), “Sally Was a Cop” from Big Station (2012), and “Pissed Off 2AM” from With These Hands (1996). End song: “Velvet Guitar” from A Man Under the Influence (2001). Opening: “Hard Road” from True Believers (1986). More at alejandroescovedo.com.
Annie fronted British symphonic rock band Renaissance for nine albums starting in 1971, but only in the late ’80s became a lyricist. She’s now released eight studio albums and two new Renaissance albums.
We discuss “Blessing in Disguise,” the title track from her 1994 album; “Grandine il Vento”, the title track from Renaissance’s 2013 album, and “Precious One” from Annie’s The Dawn of Ananda (2000). End song: “Symphony of Light,” also from Grandine il Vento.
Opening music: “Introlise” from Annie in Wonderland (1977) and Renaissance’s “Northern Lights” from A Song for All Seasons (1978). More at anniehaslam.com.
John gained semi-fame playing guitar with pop-punk Chicago-area legends Screeching Weasel starting in 1986, but became a band-leader/songwriter with eclectic-acoustic Even in Blackouts in 2002, featuring singer Liz Eldredge. He’s also an author, playwright, and juggler.
We discuss “Rapture in the Third Person” and “Motives Misunderstood in the Key of C” from EIB’s Thresholds from the Basement (2009) and “1,000 Stories” from The Fall of the House of Even (2006). End song: The new, otherwise unreleased EIB track “Reason” (rough mix). Intro music: “Talk to Me Summer” by Screeching Weasel from Anthem for a New Tomorrow (1993). Learn more at johnjugheadpierson.com.
Richard F. Walker has released 20+ albums, usually with his London space-rock band Amp. We discuss “Just Get It (Why Don’t You)” and “Les Ombres Sur la Lune” from Q Factors (A Mixtape) (2017) and “Tomorrow” from Stenorette (1988), and listen to “Levil Devil” from US (2005). Opening music is from Transmissions (part 1) (2005), and closing music is from “Mort Irritées” from AMP Studio’s Uncertainty Principles (2016). More at ampbase.net.
Frank has led punk band The Mr. T Experience in the Bay Area since 1985, and has also released three successful music-related books for teens since 2006.
We discuss “Down With the Universe” from King Dork Approximately (2016), “Big, Strange, Beautiful Hammer” from Yesterday Rules (2004), and “More Than Toast” from Our Bodies Our Selves (1993). We conclude by listening to “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend,” a 2014 single by Dr. Frank & the Bye-Bye Blackbirds. Opening/closing music: “Danny Partridge” from Everybody’s Entitled to Their Own Opinion (1986). Learn more at frankportman.com.
Don has composed and played jazz since the ’50s, was a Frank Zappa sideman through his classic ’60s albums and beyond, and has since released 20+ albums, scored 20 films, and has performed with numerous artists including John Lennon, Lou Rawls, and Nat King Cole. He has also been called “the father of modern synthesis” for his work in electronic music.
We discuss “Winds of Change” (3rd movement, 2001), “Palmer Park” (1975), and “Analog Heaven #7” (1975). End song: “Piano Solo” from TriAngular Bent (2016). Opening/closing music: “King Kong” from Uncle Meat by the Mothers of Invention (1969).
Kaki is a guitar virtuoso who has recorded eight albums and three EPs of largely instrumental work since 2003.
We discuss “Close Your Eyes & You’ll Burst into Flame,” from Everybody Loves You (2003), “Can Anyone Who Has Heard This Music Really Be a Bad Person?” from Dreaming of Revenge (2008) (intro music: “Pull Me Out Alive” from that album), and “Trying to Speak II” (feat. Ethel), from The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body (2015). End song: “Cargo Cult” from Glow (2012).
For more info visit kakiking.com.
David has recorded seven albums since 2000. Usually one wants to avoid the term “Beatlesque,” but David is a Beatles freak who once recorded his performances all 209 Beatles songs over 209 days.
We discuss “Time to Go” from David Brookings and the Average Lookings (2016), “Dead Battery” from Chorus Verses the Bridge (2005), and the title track from Obsessed (2007). We conclude by listening to “If I Don’t Make It Back” from The Maze (2013). Opening music: “You’re Right, It Went So Wrong” from the current album.
Kim is a poet, archivist, and New York City tour guide. We discuss his album plum plum featuring “The Dream Band”: his producer friend Don Fleming, Joe Bouchard (Blue Öyster Cult), Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and NEM guest Gary Lucas. We discuss “Circle’s Gotta Go” and “Arizona Burning,” and conclude with “Claudine.” We also discuss “I Comb My Hair with My Hand” by Jad Fair and the Shapir-O’Rama from We Are the Rage (1996). Intro: “East Side Story” by When People Were Shorter and Lived Near the Water from Bill Kennedy’s Showtime (1993). Follow Kim on Facebook.
Britain’s Wishbone Ash started in 1969 and has released 25+ albums, with guitarist/singer Andy the sole member left from the original band.
We discuss “American Century” from Blue Horizon (2014), “Master of Disguise” from Bare Bones (1999), and “Roads of Day to Day” (1970, released on First Light, 2007). End song: “In Crisis” from The Power of Eternity (2007). Intro music: “Blowin’ Free” from Argus (1972). Visit wishboneash.com for more.
Californian-turned-British singer-songwriter Anton has released over 25 albums since 1993, generally moving from alterna-guitar-pop to colorful-pychedelic, but remaining tuneful.
We discuss “High Noon” and (and listen to “Swindon”) from Magic Act (2016), “Dust Beneath My Wings” by Three Minute Tease (2011) and its subsequent incarnations, and the title track from In the Village of the Apple Sun (2006). Intro: “King of Missouri” (2002). Learn more at antonbarbeau.com.
Scott established himself fronting Seattle’s Young Fresh Fellows starting in 1981, then around 1994 joined R.E.M. as a recording/touring member and started The Minus 5 with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck.
We discuss The Minus 5’s “In the Ground” from Dungeon Golds (2015), “All the Time” from their Old Liquidator (1995), and “Weymer Never Dies” from their Of Monkees and Men (2016). We conclude by listening to “Another Ten Reasons” by Young Fresh Fellows from Tiempo de Lujo (2012). Intro music: “Two Lives” from their Topsy Turvy (1985). For more information, see minus5.com and youngfreshfellows.net.
Most famous for her ’90s Boston grunge band Come, Thalia has since 2001 put out six albums and some EPs, with a stripped-down yet not acoustic sound that makes good use of her low, smoky voice and tasteful electric guitar, often accompanied by viola and/or piano with prominent drums.
We discuss “Northwest Branch” by The Thalia Zedek Band from Eve (2016); opening music is “Afloat,” also from that album. We then cover “Desanctified (Full Circle)” from Been Here and Gone (2001) and “Hell is in Hello” from Trust Not Those in Whom Without Some Touch of Madness (2004). End song: “Regatta” from the self-titled debut album (2016) by a collaboration called E.
Learn more at thaliazedek.bandcamp.com and Thalia’s Facebook page. Hear bonus audio for this episode by supporting NEM at patreon.com/nakedlyexaminedmusic or through a a PEL podcast network membership.
After stints with The Three O’Clock and Jellyfish, Jason co-fronted The Grays and then worked solo, also playing with Beck, Aimee Mann, Paul McCartney, etc. and acting as one-man-backing-band/producer for other artists.
Songs: “Sincero Amore” and (ending with) “Horror Show” from Make It Be (2017) with R. Stevie Moore, “The Lie in Me” from All Quiet on the Noise Floor (2009), and “Both Belong,” by The Grays from Ro Sham Bo (1994). We conclude by listening to “Horror Show,” also from Make It Be. Opening music: “I Live” from Jason Falkner Presents Author Unknown (1996). For more, see jasonfalkner.com.
Chandler was a comedian in the ’70s, launched a rock group in the ’80s, and has released dozens of albums, fronting multiple bands at a time.
We discuss “The Strongman of North America” by The Chandler Travis Philharmonic from Waving Kissyhead Vol. 2 & 1 (2017), “The Crutch of Music” by the Catbirds from Catbirds Say Yeah (2012), and “Fluffy” by the Philharmonic from Llama Rhymes (2003). We conclude by listening to another Kissyhead track, “By the Way.” Opening music: “Long As You Have Somebody Else” by The Incredible Casuals from That’s That (1987). For more, see chandlertravis.com.
Steve released six studio albums with Genesis between 1971 and 1977 and twenty-five solo albums that feature his virtuosic guitar and the spirit of ’70s prog rock. He now works with producer/keyboardist Roger King to create dense, cinematic soundscapes.
We discuss “In the Skeleton Gallery” (and listen to “Anything but Love”) from The Night Siren (2017), “Love Song to a Vampire” from Wolflight (2014), and “Omega Metallicus” from Darktown (1999). Opening/closing music: Steve’s solo from “Firth of Fifth” from Genesis’s Selling England by the Pound (1973). More at hackettsongs.com.
Lys is a Connecticut singer/guitarist with an eccentric country twang who’s put out two albums, plus EPs and other stuff since 2003. We discuss “M.K.” from the I’m a Boy EP and also get to hear “Nothing to It” and a bit of the title track from that EP. We also address “Silver” from Winged Victory (2013), and “When I Was a Tiger Lily” from Three Songs (2006). Opening music: “Little Wren” from Lys Guillorn (2003). More at lysguillorn.com.
Starting with the Dream Syndicate in the early ’80s in L.A. and then going solo in 1990, Steve has released over 35 albums of lyrically driven rock.
We discuss “Resolution” from Northern Aggression (2010), “Punching Holes in the Sky” from Crossing Dragon Bridge (2008), and “There Will Come a Day” from Here Come the Miracles (2001). We wrap up with “I’m Not Listening,” a 2007 recording released on Sketches in Spain (2013). Opening music: “Tell Me When It’s Over” by Dream Syndicate from The Days of Wine and Roses (1982). Learn more at stevewynn.net.
Karla has put out four albums since 2006 with the Corner Laughers, a Bay Area band that has been categorized as “twee” given Karla’s ukulele, sparkly Brit-pop ornamentation, and similarly colorful lyrics.
We discuss “Queen of the Meadow” from Matilda Effect (2015), the Nov. 2016 single “Don’t Hush, Darling,” and “Grasshopper Clock” from Poppy Seeds (2012). We also listen to “Fairytale Tourist” from Matilda Effect, and the opening/closing music is from that album’s “Midsommar.” Learn more at cornerlaughers.com.
Glenn’s albums with the Feelies since 1980 have a unique sound, due to his insistence that production is part of the composing process.
We discuss “Been Replaced” and “Gone Gone Gone,” from The Feelies’ new album Here Before, then “Larmaie” from Glenn’s instrumental solo album Incidental Hum (2015). We conclude by listening to “Should Be Gone” by the Feelies from Here Before (2011). Intro music: “The High Road” by the Feelies from The Good Earth (1986). Outro music: “Like Yesterday” by Wake Ooloo from Stop the Ride (1996). Learn more at thefeeliesweb.com.
Clive is the guy who dreamt up the melodies and initial motifs for “The Promise” and other songs for When in Rome in the late ’80s, and after leaving the business for a while, the continued use of that one big song (most notably for the Napoleon Dynamite closing sequence) enabled his return to touring and recording.
We discuss two songs from his solo album Independence (2013), “Fall” and “Just Another Love Song,” and then look back to the 1988 self-titled When in Rome album for “Something Goin’ On.” We close by listening to a 2016 single performed with his fellow WIR frontman Andrew Mann, “Lost (Driving All Night).” The intro/outro music is of course “The Promise.” Hear more Clive at soundcloud.com/clive-farrington1.
Since 1988, Ken has put out several sparkly/grungy albums with The Posies, more under his own name and in various collaborations, played in the revived version of Big Star and in the touring band for R.E.M., and much more. He’s a busy guy!
We discuss “The Sound of Clouds” by the Posies from Solid States (2016), “Shittalkers!” and “Jesus Was an Only Child” from his solo album Danzig in the Moonlight (2012), and “Turn My Back on the Sun” from Big Star’s In Space (2005).
We close by listening to “Whatever Hell” by Holly and Ken from The Record (2015). Opening/closing music: “Solar Sister” by The Posies from Frosting on the Beater (1993).
Hear more at kenstringfellow.com.
Jonathan played in the ’80s with Camper van Beethoven and has since put out 40+ solo albums, sometimes with songs, sometimes guitar improvisations, or instrumental music for dance or film.
We discuss his lengthy art-rock songs with political content: “Sleep for a Hundred Years” and the title track from Superfluity (2017), then look back to “Civil Disobedience” from Edgy not Artsy (2003). End song: “Hey You (I Know You Know Me)” from All Attractions (2012). Opening music: “Auspicious Circles” from Site (2008). Closing music: “Still Wishing to Course” from Camper Van Beethoven (1986).
Learn more at jonathansegel.com.
Nik had some huge hits in the ’80s (e.g., “Wouldn’t It Be Good”) and has been described by Elton John as “the best songwriter of a generation.”
We discuss “These Tears” from his most recent album EI8HT (2012), “Lost” from You’ve Got to Laugh (2006), and the acoustic re-recording of 1984’s “The Riddle” for No Frills (2010). Closing song: “Men United” (2016), written for Prostate Cancer UK’s A Gift for Men United.
For more, visit nikkershaw.net.
Robbie has recorded 12 solo albums of crafty-lyric, country-folk music since 1996, including the new, Grammy-nominated Upland Stories. We discuss “America is a Hard Religion” and “Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals” from that album, then look back to “Where There’s a Road” from Georgia Hard (2005) and conclude with “I Told Her Lies” from South Mouth (1997). Opening/closing music: “Hamilton County Breakdown” a 1989 live recording released on The Very Best of Robbie Fulks. Learn more at robbiefulks.com.
The singer/guitarist shifted gears many times through Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Love and Rockets (which shifted from acoustic to electric to electronica), and has since put out five distinctive solo albums.
We discuss, from the collection Freedom I Love (2017), the title track and “Indie Boys”; and then “Christian Says” from Stripped (2014). End song: “Flame On” from the Hog Fever soundtrack (2016). Intro music: “So Alive” from Love and Rockets. Learn more at www.danielashmusic.com.
Todd held down the beat and wrote some songs for Grand Rapids, MI’s Molly in the ’90s through 2003, then wrote more songs and sang a bit for Dutch Henry for about ten years, then pushed forward to sing and write all the songs for his projects The Star Darts and now Cartorson.
Featuring Cartorson’s “The Last Time” and “Hearts on the Highway” from the new Richfield Skyline EP, “Say It” from Shooting Star Darts (2014) and “44 Days” by Dutch Henry from All That Space (2007). Opening music: Molly’s “Another Day of Regrets” from The Finger (2002). Learn more at toddlongmusic.com.
Asif led Canadian band MIR from 1998 to 2008, and has since recorded with real instruments for commercials and films, and released a one-man-band Police-influenced album Synesthesia in 2013.
We discuss the title track and “Electrical” from that album, also MIR’s “A Day in Your Life” from 7 Directions (2004). We conclude by listening to “The Chosen One” from MIR’s A Soldier’s Carol Christmas EP (2008). Intro music: “No Taxidermy,” produced for Empire Theaters.
Bradley fronts the Bay Area band, The Bye-Bye Blackbirds, which inhabits the niche of Byrds-influenced “power pop” even though Bradley really doesn’t like that term. We discuss the band’s 2016 boogie single “Let Your Hair Fall Down,” the country ballad “Hats” from Fixed Hearts (2011), and a pre-Blackbirds song eventually recorded for Fixed Hearts, “Elizabeth Park.”
End song: “All in Light” from We Need the Rain (2013); opening music: “The Ghosts Are Alright” from Houses & Homes (2008). Visit byebyeblackbirds.com.
Michael has played on 500+ recordings; he was the house bassist for the Windham Hill label in the ’80s and has put out seven solo albums. He expands what electric bass can do by using many tunings, even retuning on the fly using a custom-built system, using his bass as a percussion instrument, and sometimes playing multiple basses at once.
We discuss “Excuse Me, Mr. Manring” from Soliloquy(2005), and “My Three Moons” and “The Enormous Room,” both from Thonk (1994). The opening music is “Thunder Tactics” from Unusual Weather (1986), and we wrap up with “Unclear, Inarticulate Things” by Attention Deficit from Idiot King (2001).
Learn more at manthing.com.
Seven-time Grammy winning drummer Paul Wertico and his multi-talented cohort David Cain are two-thirds of Wertico, Cain and Gray, an improvisational, “impressionistic” jazz trio who have released five albums since 2013.
We discuss six tracks from Short Cuts: 40 Improvisations (2016) and “Where Brush Meets Flow (Go Van Gogh)” from Sound Portraits (2013). Intro music: “Destroy the Box” from Organic Architecture (2014).
Hear and see more at werticocainandgray.com.
Jason fattens out his eclectic guitar pieces by writing string and horn parts, and The Jason Seed Stringtet includes members of the Chicago Symphony sawing away furiously. Hear more at jasonseedmusic.com.
We’ll discuss “Ishtar,” a Bulgarian/Latin-inflected piece from In the Gallery (2013), “Any Night Now” a more traditional chamber jazz number from 2015, and “Mammoth” from the Jason Seed Exlier Ensemble’s album 3 (2008). We’ll wrap up by listening to “Pinch” from the Stringtet’s The Escapist (2010). Intro music: “Invocation” from In the Gallery.
Jill was part of a 3-woman vocal band in the ’80s called The Life is Grand Band, and then in 1995 released Songs About Sex & Depression, and only in 2015 unveiled her long-awaited study of the dark psychology of fairy tales, A Handmade Life.
We focus on this most recent project, discussing “Letters from Murdertown” and “Eyes of Fire,” and playing at the end “Walking on Glass.” Our third discussion song goes back to the previous album with “Everything Makes Me Cry.” Opening music is The Life Is Grand Band’s “Harry’s Song” from Feel Like Makin’ Art (1989).
Peter’s violin was a key part of Steeleye Span’s updating of traditional folk songs from 1971–2013. His original songs were among the group’s most heartfelt. We talk about being creative with traditional music, authenticity, and finally getting the hang of songwriting late in his career.
We discuss “We Shall Wear Midnight” from Steeleye Span’s Wintersmith (2013 with Terry Pratchett), “Bows of London” from Gigspanner’s Layers of Ages (2015), and “From a Lullaby Kiss” (2014 solo). End song: “Who Told the Butcher” from Bedlam Born (2000 Steeleye); intro: “The Butterfly” from Lipreading the Poet (2008 Gigspanner).
This orchestral tubist and pop songwriter has composed fun new additions to the solo tuba repertoire and classically influenced piano-vocal songs.
We discuss “Mendota” and “Love for My Own” and listen to “Disco Tubas” from Dare to Entertain (2015), and also discuss some of his “Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra.” More at patdoty.com.
Bill was the original drummer for Yes, a default member of King Crimson, and briefly played with Genesis and the late ’70s supergroup U.K., but most of his output has been with his own jazz-inflected Earthworks and Bruford, as rock proved too confining for his rhythmic and tonal creativity.
We discuss King Crimson’s “One more Red Nightmare” from Red (1974), “Thistledown” from If Summer Had Its Ghosts by Bill Bruford, Eddie Gomez and Ralph Towner (1992), and “The 16 Kingdoms of the 5 Barbarians” from Every Step a Dance, Every Word a Song by Bill Bruford/Michiel Borstlap (2004). We also hear “Hell’s Bells” and the title track of One of a Kind by Bruford (1979), plus “Five Per Cent for Nothing” from Fragile (1972) by Yes.
Tyler (editor of this podcast!) can rap endlessly, and has filled up ten albums with his machine-gun musings on life and politics. A great intro to indie hip-hop for the ignorant (like me)!
Songs: “Negative Space,” “Long Way Down,” and “Ciphers” (feat Grimm) from Long Way Down (2015), and “Kids of the Earth” from Quest for Meaning (2008).
Hear more at soundcloud.com/sacrifice.
Sean writes music for video games. He uses five computers, with massively realistic orchestra sounds, and he performs every part with a breath controller for expression.
We discuss “Beyond the Desert” (from Empires Apart), “Mega Adventure Time” (from Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Game for Gear VR), and “Celestial Light” (from Stellar Wanderer).
We conclude by listening to a non-video-game tune, “Salve Regina” featuring Fr. Gabriel. Opening music is “Dr. Evil’s Lair of Doom.”
Jon has been a key member of art collective The Mekons since 1977, injecting country/folk/reggae/etc. influences into a seminal punk band to create an inimitable melange that has put out 19 albums, plus he puts out solo albums and is involved with many side projects including the country-punk Waco Brothers.
We discuss “Lil’ Ray O’ Light” from his solo album Here Be Monsters (2014) and two Mekons songs: “This Funeral Is for the Wrong Corpse” recorded in 1991 and released on I Have Been to Heaven and Back: Hen’s Teeth and Other Lost Fragments of Un-Popular Culture, Volume 1 in 1999, and “Cockermouth” from Natural (2007).
We conclude by listening to the title track from the 2016 Waco Brothers album Going Down in History. Intro/outro music is from “Mephis Egypt” from The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll (1989).
Trey is master of a many-stringed type of guitar that you play by tapping with both hands at the same time. His mentor was Robert Fripp, with whom he played in the seminal progressive rock band King Crimson. He has also released over a dozen exploratory solo albums. Learn more at treygunn.com.
We talked about “Kuma” from his solo album The Third Star (1996), “Level Five” from King Crimson’s The Power to Believe, and “God’s Monkey” from the David Sylvian/Robert Fripp album The First Day (1993).
We conclude by listening to Trey’s current touring group The Security Project, as they play the Peter Gabriel classic “No Self Control” from Live 1 (2016). Beginning and end music is from Trey’s Live and Hugo House EP (2015).
Dave is a consummate craftsman in the acoustic singer-songwriter vein, but with the added bonus that he’s an amazing guitar player, who for 15 years or so has acted as sideman for ’70s Brit-legend Al Stewart, i.e., filling in the entirety of the musical palette apart from Al’s singing and strumming. And Dave has a philosophy Ph.D., and put that to use in crafting his most recent album Spinoza’s Dream (2016), where each song reflects a particular philosopher.
We talk about the title track from that album, plus two songs from Step Up (2011): “Sheila Won’t Be Coming Home” (a duet with Al Stewart) and “Descartes in Amsterdam” (originally written and recorded in 1997). We finish by listening to “All Good” from the new album. The opening music is Dave’s instrumental version of Al’s hit “Year of the Cat” from Wordless Rhymes (2005).
Learn more at davenachmanoff.com.
Chad’s 2015 album Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are has received heaps of nice reviews, with its carefully crafted, groove-oriented soundscapes and cinematic lyrics. We discuss “Afrikaner Barista” and “Steven & Tiwonge,” and then go back to Beauty Pill’s first release with “The Idiot Heart” from the Cigarette Girl from the Future EP (2001).
We close by listening to “The Prize,” a cover of an Arto Lindsay song. The opening music is “A Good Day” by Chad’s previous band, Smart Went Crazy, from Con Art (1997). Learn more at www.beautypill.com.
Jill is a big personality, rivaling Elvis Costello in the creation of acerbic, stylistically varied singer-songwriter material, and shes been putting out tuneful, story-laden albums since 1990. Visit jillsobule.com.
We discuss “Jetpack” from Underdog Victorious (2004) and get to meet her frequent co-writer Robin Eaton, “Empty Glass” (co-written with Elise Thoron) from The California Years (2009), and “Pilar (Things Here Are Different)” from Things Here Are Different (1990). Finally, we hear a new recording of her political manifesto “America Back.” The intro/outro music is “Supermodel” from her 1995 self-titled album.
Carrie fronted Seattle grunge favorite Hammerbox in the early ’90s, then moved to the more poppy guitar rock band Goodness for the latter part of the decade, and released three solo albums in the ’00s. The overall movement is from harsh exuberance to quiet reflectivity, and Carrie’s role evolved with her starting off as new newbie to rock bands singing over already-composed music and ending up in a much more controlling position, as she experiments with different musicians to get deep textures.
We discuss “No” from Hammerbox’s Numb (1993), “Cozy” from Goodness’s Anthem (1998), and “Reflection” from her solo album Home (2000). We also listen to “Coat of Arms” from the Rockfords’ self-titled 2000 album (a band that features members of Goodness as well as Mike McCready from Pearl Jam), and the opening music is Hammerbox’s single “When 3 is 2,” also from No.
Narada started as a fusion drummer in the ’70s (with Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, etc.) then released numerous solo albums and produced and wrote for artists like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, and many more. He believes in working fast: creating a mood and getting the most out of it.
We discuss “Freedom” (written by Richie Havens) from Evolution (2015), “I Shoulda Loved Ya” from The Dance of Life (1979), and the title track from Garden of Love Light (1976). We also listen to “Billionaire on Soul Street,” also from Evolution. The opening music is from “Freeway of Love” which Narada wrote and produced for Aretha Franklin, and the outro music is from “How Will I Know?” which Narada produced and wrote the verses to for Whitey Houston.
Learn more about Narada at naradamichaelwalden.com.
Craig led Shudder to Think from 1986 to 1998 and has since had a solo career and done soundtrack work. Shudder to Think was a band that started as part of Washington DC’s “hardcore” scene, but challenged musical conventions to try to achieve U2-level success with Captain-Beefheart-level weirdness (they failed). We discuss their song “Pebbles” from Get Your Goat (1992), then go post-Shudder to “Show Down” by Craig’s short-lived pop-dance band, Craig Wedren & Baby. Then we talk about working on assignment on “I Am the Wolf, You Are the Moon,” for Wet, Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. We also listen to “Heaven Sent” from Crag’s album Wand (2011).
The opening music is “X-French Tee Shirt” from Pony Express Record (1994) and the closing music is the theme from The State. Learn more at craigwedren.com.
After serving a stint with the Flaming Lips, Jonathan has been putting out albums with Mercury Rev since 1991. Over time, their music has shifted from noisy alternative rock to symphonic, soundtrack pop songs… still psychedelic, but now with an unapologetically Disneyesque influence, with the magic of nature swirling out through harp glissandos and french horns, all standing behind a simple, stark melody delivered by Jonathan’s high, Neil-Youngesque voice, which sings of nature and things more abstract.
We discuss “Autumn’s in the Air” from The Light In You (2015), “Holes” from Deserter’s Songs (1998), and “Empire State (Son House in Excelsis)” from See You on the Other Side (1995). We also listen to “Central Park East” also from the new album and intro music is “Car Wash Hair” from Yerself Is Steam (1991).
Learn more about Mercury Rev at mercuryrev.com.
Beth fronted Clear Blue Betty from 2000–2007, then in 2009 became a solo artist, co-founding Madison’s Girl’s Rock camp and letting music consume all of her professional life. She’s a classic singer-songwriter whose mission is to help others unlock their creative rockery.
We talk about “Wrong Side of Gone” from the Beth Kille Band’s 2015 EP Stark Raving Songbird, “Dead Man in a Dream” from Dust (2012), and “Through the Walls” from the EP of that name by Clear Blue Betty (2007). Plus, “Little Bit Drunk” from Beth Kille’s Ready(2010). The intro music is “Go Back” from Clear Blue Betty’s Never Been a Rebel (2004).
Phil is the long-time string arranger for Tori Amos and has done a heap more production, arrangement, and keyboard work. He has a very deliberate production style, carefully crafting a very natural-sounding theatrical background using both cutting-edge and very old tools.
We talk about “Cross the Channel” from the Brik & Shenale EP (2012), Phil’s arrangement and production of “Stars that Speak” by Willie Deville from Pistola (2008), and “Pornokiss” from a project Phil initiated called The Royal Macadamians from their album Experiments in Terror (1990).
We also listen to a brand-new Shenale instrumental “Gautama in Love.” The opening music is from “Yes, Anastasia” by Tori Amos from Under the Pink (1994). Learn more about Phil at johnphilipshenale.com.
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Bob leads the Madison, WI band The Getaway Drivers; he shares the vocal duties with his wife Shiela Shigley. Though Bob has displayed a lot of affection toward old-timey, world-weary music since starting off his major songwriting efforts around 2000 at the ripe age of 28ish, The Getaway Drivers’ new album Bellatopia is a conscious attempt to break with that, though Bob still likes telling stories informed by nostalgia for a long-gone past.
We discuss “Suburban Summer Shine” and “Signs” from the new album, as well as “Stuck” from the Bob Manor 2005 album Ghosts of Yesterday. We end by listening to “Stay” from The Getaway Drivers (2006). The opening/end music is from “A Call Out” from the new album.
In 1986 Nick van Eede released a song (“I Just Died in Your Arms”) that will be played long after we are all dead. But he’s got a lot more going on than that, and on his new album (still under the moniker “Cutting Crew”) he’s recorded his best songs from the last decade without regard for continuity with the sound that made him famous.
We discuss “Reach for the Sky” from The Scattering (1989), “Berlin in Winter” from Add to Favourites, “Frigid as England” from Compus Mentus (1992), and wrap up by listening to “Looking for a Friend,” also from the new album. Learn more at cuttingcrew.biz.
Roderick Wolgamott Romero founded and fronted the Seattle 90s space rock band Sky Cries Mary. So how does a poet get a band? Is a poet’s process different from a typical lyricist’s?
We discuss “Gliding” from Taking the Stage Live: 1997–2005 (2011), “December Snow” from Roderick’s in-progress project One Point Moment Still (featuring Romanian techno duo We’d), and “Queen of Slug Theater” from Moonbathing on Sleeping Leaves (1997).
We also listen to “You Are” from Sky Cries Mary’s final studio album, Small Town (2007), and the opening/closing music is “Walla Walla” from A Return to the Inner Experience (1993).
Tim describes himself as not a singer, but a writer with a band, and he shouted at the front of Too Much Joy in the late’ 80s–’90s and has since recorded as Wonderlick while working as a big dog in the digital music industry with Google, Rhapsody, and now Freeform.
We discuss “King of Beers” from Cereal Killers (1991), “Donner Lake” from Wonderlick (2002), “Just Like a Man” from Mutiny (1992), and also listen to “Extraordinary People” from Wonderlick’s Super (2015). Read Tim’s words at tbquirk.com, and toomuchjoy.com.
Gary is a guitar virtuoso who’s put out more than 30 albums, typically by writing guitar instrumentals that then get a melody and words added by a singer/songwriter, the most famous of these being Jeff Buckley (Gary wrote a book about it!), but also Joan Osborne, and he started out playing with Captain Beefheart.
We discuss “Will O’ the Wisp” (a new instrumental), “Overture” (with singer Jann Klose), and “The Wall” (from his album of Chinese pop The Edge Of Heaven. We also listen to “The Kid” (with Peter Hammill), and talk about working with all these singers, working intimately with your instrument, and putting out music that is experimental yet accessible. Learn more at garylucas.com.
Steve is a one-man band, overdubbing his compositions both in jazz (steel drum!) and pop/rock (featuring his unique and sometimes disco-high voice). He’s also drummed and/or fronted bands (including one in college with your host Mark). The common thread through all of this is a love of his craft: a dedication to creation in the studio, whether or not anyone hears the result.
We discuss “P.I.” from his last original full pop album to date, Acoustinaut (2002); his jazz number “Perseverence” from the 2013 EP Where You Going with That?; and “Darkness” from his full-band album BAMF! (1997). Plus we hear the 2012 single “Warren Zombie Apocalypse.” Get Steve’s music at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/StevePetrinko.
Jeff was the voice of JudyBats until ’94, and is now Heiskell. He sings with character, or characters, always articulate, overly introspective, with intimacy issues. We discuss his current status as happy, self-funded, free-styled, hands-off yet obsessive compulsive solo artist and his high-pressure, compromise-filled time on a major label that led him to quit music altogether for a while.
Songs covered: “Firefiles” and “Just Can’t Say” from Heiskell’s Arriving (2015) and “What We Lose” from the JudyBats’ Full-Empty (1994). Plus we listen to “Our Story” from Down in the Shacks Where the Satellite Dishes Grow (1992). Learn more at heiskellmusic.com.
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Gareth Mitchell is a post-rock academic, an innovative guitarist who now uses recorded splices of treated guitar (among other things) made into loops to meticulously construct electronic music, as on his upcoming album, 72. We dive deep into his tracks “Circle” and “Decay” from this album and get a taste of his dreaming singer/songwriter material with “Sovereign” from Spectre (2012). We also debut the track “Granulations.”
Gareth is as thoughtful an artist as you could possibly want to talk to, and really gives us some great insight into his unique approaches to composition. Learn more at garethmitchell.info.
Bonus audio from this discussion and preview access to the new album are available by signing up to support this podcast (a $5 donation).
Kevin Godley is a multi-media master, having directed many of the coolest music videos you’ve ever seen. But before that, he was half of Godley & Creme and 1/4 of 10cc, singing, drumming, and mostly coming up with ideas, ideas, and more ideas. Today he runs Whole World Band, a platform for collaborative video creation, and recently released his iBook autobiography Spacecake, but he still performs on occasion, and for the first time produced some solo music as part of his soundtrack to the audioplay Hog Fever.
We first discuss his song from that project, “Confessions” (2015), then “Punchbag” from the Godley & Creme album L (1978), “Barry’s Shoes” from GG06 (2006), and finally play “Lost Weekend” (feat. Sarah Vaughan) from Consequences (1977).
Fritz maintains a cool, direct front-man persona even while engaging in self-help, snarling social commentary, and referencing classic literature. He aims to write simple, repetitive songs that catch you and hit you and make you their dog. He’s been out there since the ’80s, moving around the country from band to band, but consistently delivering the goods.
We discuss “Spray Job” (The Bishops, 1994), “Try Something New” (Punchy, 2001), and “When I Say Jump” (Crown Vic, 2013), and also play “I’m on a Leash” (Crown Vic, 2008). Learn more about Fritz at fritzbeermusic.com.
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Welcome to Nakedly Examined Music, an offshoot of “The Partially Examined Life” focusing on the head and heart of songwriting. The front man of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven joins Mark Linsenmayer to discuss his songs: “All Her Favorite Fruit,” “I Sold the Arabs the Moon,” and “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” Plus “Almond Grove.” Learn more at davidlowerymusic.com.